Ever taken a bite of a flimsy room-temperature trashmeat burger from a middle-school cafeteria and thought, “This burger would be improved if it were shaped like my television’s remote control?” If so, it is very likely you are the maniac responsible for the nightmare concessions sold at the new stadium of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, and you are the enemy of mankind. What’s wrong with you? What in God’s name is wrong with you.
Turns out big ugly fan brawls weren’t the only problem at Inglewood’s new football stadium over the weekend. The “marinara pizza” appears to be a wedge of memory foam brushed with tomato soup and sprinkled with detritus from a Ruby Tuesday salad bar. The hot dog appears to have been deep fried for one hour. The “veggie burger” appears to have been all-too-carefully carved out of a sheet of contractor-grade carpet underlayment with a box cutter and then covered with a foot-long double layer of banana-flavored Fruit Roll-Up. I would absolutely not permit a dog to eat any of these items. A motel cafeteria run by the National Park Service would not serve these items, not even during the off-season, as doing so would immediately provoke a congressional inquiry.
The most appalling of these food options, for me, is the Long Burger, which the menus at this venue evidently call the “cheeseburger sub.” The Long Burger appears to be a 12-inch rectangular slab of thin-pressed ground meat, cooked to a dark and dry near-black and served at a temperature that is somehow inadequate to the task of melting a distressingly long strip of yellow American cheese, a nominal foodstuff so laden with emulsifiers that it can be melted by putting it in a room where the word “garlic” has ever been spoken. Four pickle slices are then arranged atop the cheese layer, and the Long Burger’s top bun is treated to a ceremonial soaking with ketchup. A website called FoodBeast describes the Long Burger as highlighting the stadium’s “exciting new menu items,” which ought to earn the author an emergency welfare checkup. Granted, this opinion was offered back in April, when it was possible to imagine the Long Burger as a Long Good Burger—still a confusing and arbitrary lengthening of a foodstuff that has never required reshaping in order to deliver decadent gustatory excess—instead of reality’s dismal patty flap.
Worryingly, the Long Burger appears to be the most edible of the stadium’s offerings, even while it is by a wide margin also the most insulting. Its very presence on the menu is a dare, but unlike the more grotesque and spectacularly offensive stadium stunt foods, the Long Burger says nothing more about the person eating it than that they are hungry past the point of particularity. One does not seek out the Long Burger. One succumbs. It should be illegal to utter the words “cheeseburger sub.” You should have to order it by accurately describing its constituent parts: I will have one rectangular prism of hard-cooked hamburger, adorned with plastic cheese and served on a ketchup-saturated hotdog bun. Don’t even think of holding the pickles.